Sunday, November 28

The controversy of bridges continues in Egypt.. the demolition of the tomb of Queen Farida between the public benefit and the preservation of heritage

Cairo – The Zulfikar family – to which Queen Farida, the wife of the former ruler of Egypt, King Farouk – belongs, was surprised by an official notification of the government’s intention to demolish the family cemetery in the Imam Shafi’i cemetery in the capital, Cairo; To enter the area within the scope of the public benefit of the state.

According to Seif Zulfiqar – grandson of Queen Farida’s brother – it was decided to transfer the family’s dead remains to a small cemetery with an area of ​​no more than 60 meters, which consists of two burials, one for men and the other for women, in a remote area on the outskirts of the city of “15 May”, which is 35 km away. kilometers from Cairo.

The government intends to use part of the old cemetery lands in the Sayeda Aisha neighborhood to build one of the new bridges within a network of bridges being built in order to facilitate access to the new administrative capital, according to local media.

The grandson of the Zulfikar family appealed through social media to divert the route of the bridge to be built to take into account the sanctity of the dead and preserve the heritage, especially since there are other families who own tombs with a unique history and architectural design located in the same area and facing the same fate.

The case has revived the ongoing controversy in Egypt recently due to the road construction and bridge construction implemented by the Egyptian government inside Cairo, as critics believe that it has neglected the principle of preserving heritage, while others believe that the priority is the public interest and an end to the traffic congestion that the Egyptian capital suffers from, while some question the possibility of Balance between development and heritage preservation.

unfair compensation

Some local media received the Zulfikar family’s distress, which gave the grandson an opportunity to appear on television channels to explain what he described as a heinous attack on the sanctity of the mortal remains.

Zulfiqar said – during a telephone interview with the channel “ON” – that the family cemetery dates back to its establishment for more than 120 years, and its area is wide, as it consists of 18 burials for Queen Farida, her father, mother, grandmother, uncles and their children.

He added that there are about 150 other cemeteries threatened with relocation, owned by ancient families who had national roles in different historical eras, criticizing the lack of sufficient studies to take such government decisions, saying, “In Europe, when there is a tree that stands in the way of bridge construction, the bridge route is changed. “.

It is worth noting that Queen Farida is the first wife of King Farouk and their marriage lasted for 10 years (1938-1948), and her father, Youssef Zulfiqar, the representative of the Mixed Court of Appeal, her grandfather Ali Pasha Zulficar, the former governor of the capital, and her mother Zainab Karima Mohamed Said, Prime Minister of Egypt for more than one period And her uncle is the famous plastic artist Mahmoud Saeed, and all of their bodies rested in the tombs located in the Imam Shafi’i area.

A crime against Farida

Under the title “Who is responsible for this crime against Queen Farida? Lotus Abdel Karim – the writer and member of the Supreme Council of Culture – commented on the transfer of the ancient tombs, knowing that the writer was a friend of Queen Farida, and wrote several books that dealt with the life of her friend during and after the monarchy.”

During a long post – on her account on the social networking site Facebook – Lotus said that she did not believe what was happening in Egypt, describing the transfer of Queen Farida’s tomb in this way as appalling.

And she continued, “This is how the sanctity of the remains of the dead and the sanctity of the dead are attacked in hideous ways that are not acceptable to God and not accepted by the human conscience,” stressing that never in the history of any country has the state demolished the tomb of a queen, according to her description.

She appealed to the President of the Republic to stop the demolition of the cemetery of who was the Queen of Egypt, and concluded, “Do you slander the queen of a grave… What a shame. To develop the axis of Jihan Sadat, it is farce and irony.”

In the same context, Ahmed El-Sarsawy, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Akhbar Al-Youm newspaper, said that the Egyptian government had given Zulficar’s family on the centenary of Queen Farida’s birth an ultimatum to expel her remains from her tomb on the pretext of building a bridge.

In an article entitled “Saving the tomb of Queen Farida”, the writer referred to the human and artistic roles that Farida played throughout her life, and asked, “Does our underestimation of our history reach this point? Have we not learned from the mistakes of the past? Have we not regretted the demolition of a villa greater than what was imposed on Egypt in our modern era? Is she Umm Kulthum?

Al-Sarsawy added in his questions, “Isn’t it so paradoxical that Egypt organizes a procession for its ancient queens that the world will talk about, and then humiliate the remains of one of the last of them?”

And last April, Egypt organized a royal procession for the statues of 22 kings and queens of the pharaohs to take them from the Egyptian Museum to the Museum of Civilizations, accompanied by a major celebration that took months to prepare.

The journalist writer concluded his article by emphasizing that Queen Farida and her family deserve the trouble of diverting the bridge or tunnel or searching for an alternative.

Other codes

In addition to the tombs of the Zulfikar family, there are other tombs of personalities who influenced modern history are also threatened with removal. Historical researcher Ibrahim Al-Masry spoke about some of them in a statement to Sada Al-Balad website, referring to the tomb of Ali Pasha Mubarak; He is an Egyptian historian and credited with building a number of ancient scientific edifices and was called the “Father of Egyptian Education”, as well as the famous Quran reciter, Sheikh Muhammad Refaat, in addition to Mahmoud Pasha Fahmy, who was Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Army during the reign of Khedive Tawfiq and was called “the architect of the Urabi Revolution”. Stressing that all of them fall within the graves threatened with removal.

Muhammad Yakan – the grandson of Ahmed Medhat Yakan Pasha, who was Minister of Agriculture, Endowments and Foreign Affairs in various ministries at the beginning of the last century – revealed a threat to the remains of his family’s dead, explaining that their number exceeded 120, while the authorities offered to compensate them with a cemetery with only two burials.

He said that his family’s tombs are archaeological and are built with marble and inlaid with gold water, noting that his grandmother is the owner of the Royal Jewelery Palace, Fatima Haider, who is buried in the family’s tombs to be removed.

Hundreds of tombs

last February, The Seventh Day newspaper published a news story It is reported that a number of tombs were moved in the vicinity of Imam al-Shafi’i and Imam al-Laithi, as part of the plan to develop the path of Aal al-Bayt, in conjunction with the transfer of a number of others located in the path of the “Sayeda Aisha” bridge, which is being implemented to link between Sayeda Aisha Square and another traffic axis called the Axis of Civilizations.

The newspaper quoted Ibrahim Awad – an administrative official in Cairo Governorate and was a former officer – that 2,760 cemeteries will be removed and moved to other places in the city of “May 15th”, but he returned and denied the issue of removing the tombs, Confirmed to Al-Shorouk newspaper The plan to remove the Sayyida Aisha bridge and the cemetery is still under study, and its implementation has not yet been decided.

He explained that the specific period of the study has not yet been decided, and if the study reaches the implementation of the plan, it will be in the last stages of development of the region.

And last October, Al-Watan newspaper quoted Informed sources said that it is expected to remove a number of cemeteries on both sides of the road under the Sayeda Aisha Bridge, including a number of cemeteries in the Sayeda Nafisa area, and part of the Al-Ghafir cemeteries opposite Al-Azhar Park will be removed, as part of the expansion works of Salah Salem Road and reducing traffic jams.

Save the cemeteries of Egypt

Through the hashtag “Save Egypt’s Cemeteries,” the pioneers of social media platforms interacted and shared pictures of tombs containing the remains of Egyptians who influenced the country’s history, as well as the tombs enjoying a unique architectural style.

What the current Egyptian government will do to remove the tombs of Imam al-Shafi’i is not a precedent in its dealings with shrines for road construction; Previously, parts of the cemeteries in the Mamluk desert area – called the Al-Ghafir cemeteries – were demolished in July 2020, to create a traffic axis, which led to a wave of popular anger at the time, and the communication sites were crowded with pictures of historical graves after their demolition.

This popular anger prompted the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to issue a statement denying the demolition of any antiquities, and confirmed that the demolished tombs were unregistered buildings among Islamic and Coptic antiquities. Especially since most of them are more than 100 years old.

Source : Egyptian media + The island + Social Media

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